10 Bedtime Story Books You Can Turn Into Sleep Training Tools

Bedtime Books Sleep Training Tools

We’ve already said a lot (A LOT) on this site about bedtime – including when exactly bedtime should happen. We’ve also written a ton about bedtime routines – what bedtime routines should (and shouldn’t) look like, why a bedtime routine is key to sleep coaching, and more.

But here’s a part of most parents’ bedtime routines that goes overlooked as a sleep training tool: the bedtime story book. Sure, most of us probably spend at least a few minutes reading to our little cherubs before tucking them in at night, but have you ever stopped and thought about how you can turn the bedtime story to your (sleep training) advantage?

You can.

Now, that’s not to say that you have to choose special “sleep-focused” books at bedtime – there’s a lot to be said for simply reading a good book to your kiddo, regardless of whether or not it mentions sleep! Reading is hands-down the best way to establish early literacy, and it makes for pretty fantastic parent-child bonding time, too.

But if you’re sleep coaching, you no doubt want to utilize every tool at your disposal to help the process along – and the bedtime books you choose can be powerful tools indeed. Read on for details!

10 Bedtime Books You Can Turn Into Great Sleep Coaching Tools

Unknown-6 BOOK: Goodnight Moon – by Margaret Wise Brown

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A bedtime book classic! Little bunny bids “good night” to everything in his room, before peacefully drifting off to sleep himself.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a toddler who’s fighting off bedtime? Saying “good night” to the things she encounters as she goes through her bedtime routine is actually a powerful way to help signal that it’s time to go to sleep. It’s also a way for your toddler to mentally reassure herself that everything else in her life (and in her room) is going to sleep too – so she’s not missing anything. ;) And this is a great book for babies, too – the simple illustrations and primary colors provide great visual appeal for infants!

 
Unknown-5 BOOK: A Book of Sleep – by Il Sung Na

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A wide-awake little owl swoops through this beautifully-illustrated book and watches all the other animals settle down (and snuggle down) for sleep.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: If you have your own “wide-awake” little watchful owl at bedtime, this book is a great resource! As your child watches how all the animals sleep in their own special way, it can provide big reassurance that bedtime really is for sleeping. And if your toddler has a unique bedtime arrangement (maybe he has to sleep with three or four of the same special stuffed friends each night?), then he can take pride in knowing that just like the animals, he has his own special way of sleeping. Babies will love this book, too – especially if you’re working on teaching your baby animal names and sounds.

 
Unknown-4 BOOK: Sleep Like A Tiger – by Mary Logue

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A feisty little girl lets her parents know in no uncertain terms that she is not – positively not – tired. Her loving parents convince her that bed really is the place for her, and a colorful parade of animals follows, as these ingenious parents convince their little one to “sleep like a tiger”.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Who among us HASN’T had a bedtime-avoider on their hands? The “I’m not tired!” line is a favorite among most toddlers. Well, this book is a great choice for the bedtime avoider in your house. Through this story and it’s gorgeous illustrations, your toddler will learn that it’s okay to have a feisty spirit, but that bedtime can be an exciting and imaginative time, too!

 
Unknown-3 BOOK: Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? – by Brianna Caplan Sayres

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable look at where the big “diggers” sleep at night – this one is quite similar to Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: For the wee truck-lover in your life! If you have a little one who loves heavy machinery in your home, this book is sure to be a hit. As your child watches the beloved trucks and diggers go peacefully to bed, odds are bedtime will start to seem more appealing to your little guy or little girl, too!

 
Unknown-2 BOOK: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep – by Joyce Dunbar

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Little Willa is scared to go to sleep – good thing her big brother Willoughby is there to tell her something happy before she goes to sleep!

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Bedtime fears and fear of the dark are very real for toddlers – and it’s very possible that at some point during the sleep coaching process, your little one will suddenly become scared at bedtime. This book is a great solution to that problem! Willa’s “happy thoughts” before bed can become your child’s – or, after the book is done, come up with some happy thoughts of your own! As for babies, they’re sure to love the snuggly bunny characters in this sweet little book.

 
Unknown-1 BOOK: It’s Time To Sleep, My Love – by Nancy Tillman

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Mama animals gently put their babies to sleep in this fantastic book, complete with gorgeous, lush illustrations.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: It can really help your little one to know that when it’s her bedtime, lots of other things are going to bed, too – including animals! The soft, lilting rhymes of this book will lull even the youngest babies to sleep, and the message that everything around the world is going to bed can go a long way to helping your baby or toddler settle down and fall asleep without a fuss.

 
Unknown BOOK: Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go To Sleep! – by Bruce Arent

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Simpson’s sheep need to go to sleep – but they just won’t! Between yakking and stalling and needing to “go”, these sheep are pro bedtime stalkers.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a bedtime staller on your hands? Then this is the book for you! By the end, you and your toddler will be rolling over the sheep’s stall tactics, and will be chanting together, “Go to sleep, sheep!” This is a great way for toddlers to see how silly bedtime stalling can look from a different perspective, and will hopefully help you make progress towards smoother bedtimes yourselves.

 
Unknown-7BOOK: Sleep Is For Everyone – by Paul Showers

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: This little books presents great, basic information about why living things need sleep, and takes a look at how animals sleep, how people sleep, how sleep affects our brains, and more.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a little budding scientist at home who constantly asks, “But why?” I can relate! If your little one just needs to know the “why” behind why she has to go to sleep, you’ll want to grab a copy of this book. It presents the basics about why sleep is important in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. This book will definitely help convince your little bedtime skeptic that sleep matters, and that can help make sleep coaching even easier on both of you!

 
Unknown-8BOOK: Bedtime – by Elizabeth Verdick

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Watch a toddler go through his bedtime routine with his family, from brushing teeth to taking a bath to lullabies and snuggles.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Toddlers will be reassured that yes, bedtime is normal and everyone is doing it when they watch the character in the story go through his bedtime routine with mom and dad, and snuggle down happily into bed. Modeling good bedtime behavior and cooperation is a great way to help show your toddler exactly what’s expected of him at bedtime, and this book does exactly that – it provides a positive model of what bedtime should look like. A great tool to add to your sleep coaching arsenal! And babies can get a lot out of this book, too – after all, it’s never too late to start modeling good bedtime behavior, and establishing a strong bedtime routine! Note that this book is one in a series called “Toddler Tools” – check out their other books on meal-times, nap time, clean-up time, and more.

 
Unknown-9BOOK: Nursies When The Sun Shines – by Katerhine C. Havener

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable breastfeeding toddler learns that nighttime is for sleeping, and that “nursies” happen when during the day, when the sun shines.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: A FABULOUS book for co-sleeping parents who are working on weaning an older baby or toddler away from nighttime nursing. A client actually recommended this one to us awhile back, and said it was a lifesaver in her home! If you are working on night weaning as part of your sleep coaching, this book will be a great tool for you – it’s designed to help even young toddlers understand when it’s time to nurse, and when it’s time to sleep.

Get Sleep Training Help From The Baby Sleep Site®

A great arsenal of bedtime books can be a big help in your sleep training endeavors – but you’ll need more than bedtime stories to help your baby or toddler learn to fall asleep peacefully at bedtime and sleep through the night. You’ll need us! Let our team of expert sleep consultants craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that’s personalized to your family and that’ll walk you through every step of sleep coaching.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – we want to hear about your favorite bedtime books! Share your recommendations in the comments below, and help us expand our list!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Disclosure: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you opt to purchase one of these books, The Baby Sleep Site® may receive a small commission from your purchase. This will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend those products that we feel are good resources for our readers.

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

Toddler Sleep Training
Baby sleep training can be challenging, but toddler sleep training? Whew, boy…that can feel like an impossible task sometimes! That’s why many parents find they need sleep training methods and techniques that are especially for toddlers…sometimes, the tips that work well with baby sleep training fall short with toddler sleep training.

Fortunately for you, we know thing or two about toddler sleep training! And today, we share 7 key toddler sleep training tips and tricks – keep reading for details!

Toddler Sleep Training: 7 Tips and Tricks

  1. Establish sleep boundaries in advance. With toddlers, sleep training is as much about enforcing boundaries with discipline as it is about teaching new and healthy sleep habits. We usual recommend that parents who are planning to sleep train their toddlers start by outlining sleep-time boundaries they want their child (and themselves) to follow. For instance, decide ahead of time how you will handle middle-of-the-night waking, or nap refusals, and then stick to those sleep rules so as to help your toddler understand what your boundaries look like.
  2. Optimize your toddler’s schedule. Sometimes, toddler sleep problems are due as much to schedule issues as they are to sleep associations and unhealthy sleep habits. Take a hard look at your toddler’s daytime nap schedule – are naps ending too late in the day? Are naps themselves too long? Remember, too much nap sleep can result in less night sleep, especially for toddlers. If early-waking is one of the problems you want to solve with sleep training, be sure that bedtime isn’t too early – many toddlers who are still napping during the day actually benefit from a later bedtime, to help prevent early waking. You can use our schedule resource page to see sample schedules by age, and to create a custom sleep schedule with our schedule-maker.
  3. Offer a snack before sleep times. Toddlers are mobile little things, aren’t they? And all that mobility can seriously make a kid hungry! That’s why we usually suggest offering a snack (or a breastfeed, or a bottle, perhaps, for younger toddlers) before a nap, and before bedtime. While you don’t want a child who grazes constantly and never eats a real meal, most toddlers do need healthy snacks between meals in order to sleep well, and to not wake from hunger. Just be sure to brush your toddler’s teeth after the bedtime snack, before your little one goes to sleep.
  4. Give your bedtime routine a clear, definitive end. Hopefully, you have a bedtime routine at this point. (If you don’t, get one soon!) It’s really important, for toddler sleep training purposes, that you give your bedtime routine a very clear end. Toddlers are masters of bedtime stalling, so be sure that your routine has a strong end that clearly signals to your toddler that it’s time to lie down and sleep. This can be a phrase you say, a song you play, a prayer, etc. If you do this consistently, over time, you can help to cut down on (and maybe eliminate) your toddler’s stall tactics.
  5. Provide incentives for progress. Older toddlers will really benefit from being able to see their progress somehow – like on a sleep training chart – and will also do well with periodic rewards for progress. For instance, you may want to offer a small reward, like a sticker to put on the chart, each night that your toddler stays in bed at bedtime and falls asleep without getting up. But you may also want to offer bigger rewards – maybe after a week of great sleep behavior, your toddler gets to pick a small toy from the store.
  6. Be calm, because your toddler may not be! Toddler temper tantrums may very well be a part of your toddler sleep training…most toddlers don’t respond well when their usual routines and ways of sleeping are altered! This is one reason why sleep training a toddler can feel so difficult. Just remember that throughout this process, you will need to keep your cool and remain calm. While you may feel sorely tempted to match your toddler’s wails with your own, it’s best if you can remain calm and in control.
  7. Remain consistent – this is key with toddlers! Staying calm is important – staying consistent is vital. Most toddlers are incredibly smart about this; if they sense that they can breach any of your sleep boundaries, and that you will give in, they will surely do it. So even thought it may be tough, stay firm in enforcing your sleep-time rules, and in your sleep coaching plan – if you do, it’ll pay off soon, and your whole family will be sleeping better!

Need Toddler Sleep Training Help? Look No Further!

If you’re struggling with frustrating toddler sleep training problems, we can help! We have worked with thousands of families to overcome toddler sleep problems, and we can help you overcome yours, too, with one of our Personalized Sleep Plans™! Connect with a sleep consultant today, and she will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your toddler, that accounts for your unique circumstances. She’ll help you implement it, too, and will be available to answer any of your sleep training questions.
 
Browse our list of sleep consultation packages here.
 
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

Have toddler sleep training tips or questions? Share them below, and we’ll answer!

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDJoin our Members Area and get exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

18 Month Old Toddler Sleep Regression: 10 Survival Techniques

 
18 Month Sleep Regression
 
Oh, parents – I’m so sorry to have to break this news. After three (yes, THREE) sleep regressions, you’re not done yet. :( And the 18 month sleep regression? Yeah…it’s one of the worst!

BUT that doesn’t mean that you’re powerless in the face of the 18 month sleep regression – not at all! We’re always here for you, readers – even in the face of one of the toughest sleep regressions you’ll face.

18 Month Old Toddler Sleep Regression: What It Looks Like

Basically, you’ll know you’re facing the 18 month sleep regression when your toddler, who was sleeping just fine, thankyouvermuch, is suddenly NOT sleeping so fine. You will probably see shorter and more erratic naps, more bedtime drama, increased night waking, and/or really early-morning wake-ups.

Since lists are nice, when you’re trying to troubleshoot, you can also be on the lookout for these signs:

  • Increased fussiness and crying (aka major crankiness!)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Extra clinginess and a need for more cuddle time

18 Month Old Toddler Sleep Regression: Why It Happens

If you remember, the 8/9/10 month sleep regression was the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances – at that age, your baby’s mobility and physical skills were just exploding, which led to disrupted sleep. Well, 18 months presents another ‘perfect storm’ – only this time, it’s a perfect storm of discipline issues! At 18 months, your toddler is no doubt learning that she can say ‘no’ to mommy and daddy (and say it LOUDLY at that) – and that defiance most definitely carries over to bedtime. While this growing independence isn’t all bad, by any means (this independent streak is also what will prompt her to learn how to put on her own shoes, and feed herself with a spoon), but it can lead to way more battles of will over things like bedtime and nap time.

And here’s what’s SUPER tricky about this: these two elements (your toddler’s newfound sleeplessness and your toddler’s newfound stubbornness and defiance) can end up influencing each other. Your toddler’s willful behavior can lead him to refuse naps or to shriek stubbornly for you each time he wakes at night. And of course, the lack of sleep caused by this regression can make your little one cranky, which leads to more tantrums and temper fits. It can turn into a vicious cycle of over tiredness and tantrums.

No wonder so many of our clients with 18 month olds report feeling like they’re nearing their breaking point!

Or course, the 18 month regression isn’t just about behavior issues – there are other factors in play here, too:

  • Teething could be to blame. Around 18 months, children are cutting the 4 canine teeth as well as well as their first molars. This can cause discomfort that leads to disrupted sleep.
  • Separation anxiety is still an issue for toddlers at 18 months. Most babies begin experiencing separation anxiety around 7 or 8 months, and for most babies, the anxiety is strongest from 10-18 months. This can lead to disrupted sleep as well — your baby may resist naps because he doesn’t want to be away from you, or he may wake at night and become upset that you’re not in the room with him.

18 Month Old Toddler Sleep Regression: 10 Survival Techniques

We first shared our 7 tips for 18 month sleep regression survival over on hintmama.com – check out the full list there!

For a quick, at-a-glance list of 10 tricks you can use to survive the 18 month regression – keep reading!

  1. Try a sticker chart to increase bedtime and nap time cooperation. Stickers hold great weight with most toddlers, so try using them as an incentive to help your toddler cooperate at bedtime and at nap time.
  2. Strengthen your bedtime routine, and give it a definitive end. Good bedtime routines are fairly short and VERY consistent. They also have a definite end – you might end with the same short song, or the same good night phrase. This is a strong signal to your toddler that it’s time for sleep.
  3. Try a lovey. If you haven’t given your toddler a comfort object, or a lovey, yet, this is a great time to start. If your 18 month old has something to keep in bed that feels cozy and comforting, it can minimize how often he calls for you at night or at nap time.
  4. Be prepared to offer extra naps (if she skips her usual ones) or an earlier bedtime. Part of the 18 month sleep regression involves fighting sleep (because what self-respecting toddler wants to sleep when she can play? ;)), so be ready to help your toddler compensate for missed sleep, in an effort to avoid over tiredness. (Just be sure that all naps are over by 6 p.m.).
  5. Offer a bedtime snack. Sometimes, a legitimate growth spurt can overlap with the 18 month sleep regression, so offering a high-protein bedtime snack can help to ward off middle-of-the-night hunger. Just make sure to brush teeth after snack time, and before bed!
  6. Offer a nightlight. By 18 months, your toddler may start having nighttime fears, so a very soft nightlight can provide a little reassurance.
  7. Offer simple explanations. Your toddler obviously isn’t at the age yet where you can hold real conversations, but it can be helpful to give your toddler reasons for WHY he needs to go to bed and get enough sleep. Keep your explanations simple, of course, and avoid over-explaining yourself (remember, your toddler is the king/queen of “but why?”) – but some simple explanations can help defuse sleep time drama.
  8. Don’t undo all your hard work. That is to say, if you’ve worked on sleep training, don’t go back to old sleep associations! Instead, comfort your toddler by doing mini-versions of whatever they find comforting. For instance, maybe hold your toddler when he wakes fussing, but hold him for a few minutes, instead of holding him all the way to sleep. Or lie down with him in his room, but be sure to leave before he falls asleep. This will provide comforting without creating new, bad sleep habits.
  9. Create firm ‘will’ and ‘will not’ boundaries, and then reinforce them for your toddler. For example, if your toddler isn’t allowed to sleep in your bed, then be sure to reinforce that even in the midst of the 18 month sleep regression. If you’ve decided for yourself that when your toddler cries for you at night, you’re going to wait 5 minutes before going into her room, then stay consistent with that.
  10. Be prepared to re-train, if necessary. Even small things, like a short cold, can throw off your child’s normally-great sleeping patterns. So it’s no wonder that a big sleep regression can do big damage! Don’t worry, though – you can get back on track. Give the regression a few weeks to sort itself out; at that point, if your toddler is still struggling with sleep, do some sleep training to get things back on track (trust me, it will most likely be a lot easier this time than it was the first time around!).

18 Month Sleep Regression Help That’s Guaranteed To Work

Toddler sleep problems are definitely solvable – but they can be TOUGH to solve on your own. So why not connect with one of our caring, compassionate sleep consultants, and get expert answers to your nap questions today?
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

How have you dealt with the 18 month old toddler sleep regression? Any tried-and-true survival techniques that we didn’t mention here? Share with us – we love hearing from you!

Wonder Weeks Chart: How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

 
Wonder Weeks Baby Toddler Sleep
 

The Wonder WeeksIf you’re a mom in today’s day and age, you’ve no doubt heard about The Wonder Weeks. This book, written by a husband-and-wife team, outlines the 10 “wonder weeks”, or regression stages, that all babies go through in the first 20 months of life. The book outlines when and why each “wonder week” happens; it also offers parents insights into how to help their babies navigate each wonder week, and turn it into a leap forward for baby.

The book is quite interesting, and we’ve heard from many parents that this is in there list of top, must-have baby books (you can see comments from real moms over on the Wonder Weeks Facebook page). Of course, as people who eat, sleep, and breathe baby sleep, we’ve always been most interested in how each of these wonder weeks stages impact a baby’s naps and nighttime sleep.

And we thought it was about time that we shared what we’ve learned about the wonder weeks and sleep with you!

Wonder Weeks Chart: How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

Wonder Weeks Chart: How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

Week Name Description Impact on Sleep
5 Weeks Changing Sensations Your newborn is “waking up”, becoming more alert, and noticing the world around her. This is understandably overwhelming for newborns! This is when “the witching hour” usually starts – that period of fussiness from about about 5 – 10 or 11 p.m. Be available to cuddle baby often (wearing baby is a great idea at this time); you may also need to feed more frequently in the evening. Baby may also go through a growth spurt at this time. Finally, keep in mind that this wonder week overlaps a bit with the 6 week peak of fussiness.
8-9 Weeks Patterns Baby is beginning to recognize and create simple patterns in his world; he’ll practice moving his hands in the same way over and over, or make the same grunting sound again and again. All this curiosity and alertness can make it hard for baby to settle and fall sleep, so be sure to make your nursery sleep-friendly – it should be dim and quiet. This is also a grew time to begin working on simple sleep time routines – start doing the same patterns of events at nap time and bedtime.
12 Weeks Smooth Transitions Baby’s movements become smoother and more coordinated; baby also begins to recognizes changes in her world, and the patterns of these changes (i.e. every time the dryer buzzer goes off, mom leaves the room). Baby is getting squirmier at this age, and becoming more active – and that can mean changes to your sleep routine. Your baby may start breaking free of the swaddle. Some parents find that baby’s newfound ability to roll interferes with sleep – baby can roll from back to tummy, but not the other way around. Other parents notice that their babies settle into a semi-regular sleeping and feeding schedule at this age.
15-19 Weeks Events Baby is learning to recognize cause and effect, and to predict outcomes (i.e. ‘If I drop this toy, it will fall to the ground, and dad will come and pick it up’). Welcome to the 4 month sleep regression! If baby’s sleep was predictable up to this point, it may all fall apart now. Continue to work on building consistent sleep routines; this will help baby learn that certain events mean sleep is coming. You may also want to work on identifying any sleep associations baby may have; that will help with sleep training. There’s also another growth spurt that happens around 4 months.
23-26 Weeks Relationships Baby begins to perceive distance at this point – the world becomes a much bigger place for her! This may be one reason why many babies begin rolling/crawling at this time. Separation anxiety may become a problem at nap time and bedtime, since baby now understands that when you leave, you’re far away. This is also a great time to sleep train your baby – work on weaning your baby away from her sleep associations, and on helping her learn to fall asleep independently. Finally, there’s yet another growth spurt that happens around 6 months, for most babies.
33-37 Weeks Categories Baby is learning that various things can be grouped together – for example, his blocks may all look different, but he recognizes that they are all blocks. Baby also makes big strides in mobility, learning to crawl well, to pull up to standing, and possibly to take assisted steps. This Wonder Week coincides with the 8/9/10 month sleep regression. Baby’s sleep may be seriously disrupted, thanks to all his new-found mobility. But baby may also begin to experiment with cause and effect at sleep times – ‘If I cry, what will mom do?’ Your baby will quickly pick up on any patterns, so make sure not to create any new sleep associations at this stage. Finally, if baby is still waking to feed at night at this age, we usually recommend an attempt at night-weaning. (Oh, and P.S. – there is (you guessed!) another growth spurt to watch out for, around 9 months.)
42-46 Weeks Sequences Baby begins recognizing the steps involved in simple tasks, like getting dressed, or making lunch. Baby can also apply this to his own tasks – socks have to go on before shoes. Routines are so key at this stage; most babies love knowing what comes next, so work to continue strengthening your sleep routines. You may find that your baby goes through the brief 12 month sleep regression around this time, and tries to give up her morning nap; we advise that you stick to two naps for now, as most babies this age can’t manage with just one nap.
52-55 Weeks Programs Your toddler builds on his understanding of sequences, and starts to learn that there is more than one way (or one “sequence” to accomplish the same task. This is also when most toddlers start showing strong preferences (i.e. pink socks are great, but green socks are bad). Welcome to toddlerhood, parents! At this stage, separation anxiety often comes back with a vengeance. You may also start to see some nap time and bedtime resistance at this point, as your toddler is learning to assert his independence and preferences.
61-64 Weeks Principles This stage is related to the cause-and-effect breakthrough we saw in the 15-19 week stage, only now, your toddler is learning how to use cause-and-effect to achieve her goals. She is also learning that her actions have certain consequences It’s time to talk about the D-word, parents – discipline. Your toddler is learning fast how you respond to her actions, so be sure that you are sending the right messages with your responses. This is the time to start establishing boundaries and setting limits for your toddler surrounding sleep, and enforcing them. We often tell parents that at this age, sleep problems are rarely sleep problems – they are discipline problems.
72-76 Weeks Systems Your toddler is capable of understanding larger systems now – for instance, she knows that the procedures and expectations at daycare are different than those at home. Your toddler can also change her behavior and actions to suit different situations, which explains why your toddler may be sweet and helpful for the babysitter, but grumpy and whiny for you (which is not at all uncommon, by the way!). If it hasn’t already, your toddler’s ‘toddler attitude’ may show itself full-force around this time. Continue to enforce your sleep time boundaries and limits. By 17 or 18 months, tantrums are common. Toddler tantrums at bedtime and nap time are especially frustrating – it’s key that you stand firm during these tantrums. Also, watch for the 18 month sleep regression that happens at about this time; it tends to be one of the toughest.

(Chart created by The Baby Sleep Site®. All views regarding how the Wonder Weeks impact baby and toddler sleep are ours, and are not taken from The Wonder Weeks book. For full information on each Wonder Week, reference the book itself.)

Whew – that’s a lot of information to take in, isn’t it? If you’re struggling to make sense of all this, remember that you don’t have to make sense of it alone. Check out our Baby Sleep Site resources below, and let us guide you down the path to better baby and toddler sleep!

Baby and Toddler Sleep Resources That Work – Guaranteed!

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Baby_On_Computer_RESIZEDIf you are looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation, and want plenty support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Your consultation package will provide you with the chance to interact one-on-one with a trained sleep consultant, who will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family and then work to help you implement it at home.
 

Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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Has your baby gone through the Wonder Weeks stage? How has it affected your baby’s sleep?

10 Must-Know Baby and Toddler Nap Facts. (#7 May Surprise You!)

Baby Toddler Naps

We’ve written quite a bit about baby and toddler naps here on the blog, so if you’ve been following our site for awhile, you’ve had the chance to read a lot of baby and toddler nap tips and tidbits. But, some of you are new moms or new to The Baby Sleep Site® and we strive to educate all of our parents on the importance of good sleep and how to achieve it!

Today, we’re presenting you with 10 must-know facts about your baby’s or toddler’s naps. Think of it as your nap “cheat sheet”. ;)

10 Things You Need To Know About Baby and Toddler Naps

  1. The first nap of the day is the most important. This isn’t to say that other naps aren’t also important. But the first nap of the day tends to be the most restorative, setting the tone for the day, and it’s generally the one that produces the best sleep for babies and young toddlers.
  2. Most babies don’t transition to one nap at 12 months; most transition to one nap between 15-18 months. There seems to be a prevailing opinion out there that at the one year mark, babies should suddenly transition from two naps to one. And some will, with no problem. But we’re here to tell you that making the 2-to-1 nap transition at 12 months isn’t the norm for most babies. In fact, most babies aren’t ready to move to one nap a day until 15-18 months.
  3. Most 6 month old babies aren’t ready for just 2 naps per day; most still need 3 (or even 4). Just as there’s a misconception that all 12 month old babies are ready to transition to one nap per day, there’s also a misconception that 6 month old babies are ready to transition to just 2 naps each day. We think this misconception is at least party due to a recommendation that Weissbluth makes in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. In the book, Weissbluth states that only 16% of babies need a third nap after 5 months. Keep in mind this statistic came from a study of a limited number of children.

    We are not discounting Weissbluth’s studies, but we do take it with a grain of salt, since all babies vary in their ability (particularly mood-wise) to stay awake for long periods of time. In our extensive work with families, we’ve found that far more than 16% of babies appear to need 3 naps at 6, 7, even 8 months of age. Therefore, we usually tell parents not to rush into a 2 nap schedule with their 6 month old babies. Doing that increases the chances that their 6 month olds will become overtired, which will in turn affect their night sleep. We’ve found it’s better to stick to a 3 nap schedule (or even a 4 nap schedule) and then gradually transition to a 2 nap schedule around 8 months.

  4. Your child’s nap needs will change greatly between birth and 18 months. Greatly. This just makes sense if you think about it — newborns nap pretty much constantly during the day, while an 18 month old needs just 1 nap. That’s a lot of change during a relatively short period of time!

    So, how many naps does your baby or toddler need in the first 18 months of life? You can read this article for detailed information, but here’s the short version:

    *1-3 MONTHS – 4-5 naps per day, depending on how long his naps are and how long he can stay up between naps.

    *3-4 MONTHS – 4 naps.

    *5-8 MONTHS – probably 3 naps (though some will need 4 until after 7 months). A few babies will only have 2 naps at a very young age, but those naps are usually long.

    *9-15 MONTHS – 2 naps. Some babies will transition to 1 nap at 12 months, but that’s not common.

    *15-18 MONTHS – 1-2 naps. The transition from 2 naps to 1 usually happens in this window of time.

    *18 MONTHS-4 YEARS – 1 nap. The age to transition away from all napping varies a lot, from 2 to 5+ years old, but the average age is between 3 and 4 years old.

  5. Nicole’s Note:
    “But, of course, my son was very NON-textbook. He had 4 naps until 7 months old, because he simply could not stay awake longer than 1 hour 15 to 30 minutes without turning into Senor Cranky Pants! It was simply NOT fun to even try. So, I rolled with it and he stayed home all day pretty much until he seemed to change overnight, taking 3 naps at 7 1/2 months old. He then dropped to two naps a short month later at 8 1/2 months. It happened so fast! He also transitioned to one nap early and away from napping early. I would never have guessed that based on our first 7 months. So, if your baby is struggling with staying awake for long periods, he’s not alone and it could change fast for you, too! :)”

  6. If your baby or toddler sleeps well at night, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll nap well during the day. Remember, nap sleep is different than night sleep. Naps happen during daylight hours, when the sun’s up and when it tends to be noisy and busy. External factors like that can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap well. And many families struggle with keeping a consistent daily nap routine in place — because life tends to get in the way! That, too, can make it hard for a baby or toddler to nap consistently. Contrast that with nights — it’s dark, it’s (usually) quiet, and everyone is (usually) at home. That at least partly explains why many babies and toddlers who sleep just fine at night struggle with their naps.
  7. On-the-go, “moving” naps aren’t as restorative as naps that happen at home, in bed. This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s true — naps that happen “on the go” (in a moving car, for example, or in a moving stroller or shopping cart) aren’t as restorative as naps that happen on a non-moving surface (like a bed). They aren’t as long, for one thing, and during a “moving” nap, your baby’s or toddler’s sleep won’t be as deep. The occasional on-the-go nap isn’t a big deal, of course; sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. But if the majority of your baby’s or toddler’s naps are happening in the car, or in a stroller, you may need to rethink your daytime routines and schedule.
  8. It’s possible for your baby or toddler to nap too much. Yes, we realize that this particular “problem” doesn’t plague most of you. ;) But it’s true; some babies and toddlers nap too much, and it negatively affects their nighttime sleep. How much nap time sleep is too much? You can check out this article for details, but here’s a fast breakdown:

    *INFANT STAGE (birth – 4 months) — newborns will sleep 14-18 total hours during the day. To maximize nighttime sleep, limit naps to two hours, and try to keep your baby awake for 30 minutes between naps. (Need help with newborn sleep? Take a look at our newborn e-Book.)

    *BABY STAGE (4-12 months) – babies need 13-15 total hours of sleep during the day. 2-4 of these hours should be naps (depending on how much sleep your baby is getting at night.)

    *TODDLER STAGE (12 months – 3 or 4 years) – 1-3 hours of total naptime is considered normal and healthy.

  9. Educate yourself on when common nap transitions occur, and how to manage them. Nap transitions are likely to occur at the following times:

    *3-4 MONTHS – baby transitions from 5 naps to 4.
    *5-6 MONTHS – baby transitions from 4 naps to 3.
    *8-9 MONTHS – baby transitions from 3 naps to 2.
    *15-18 MONTHS – toddler transitions from 2 naps to 1.

    As for how to handle these nap transitions? We have loads of resources on that very topic in our Members Area – keep reading for details!

  10. If a nap just isn’t happening, know when to give up and try again later. We end up dispensing this advice quite often to our consultation clients who we are working on nap training: don’t waste too much time trying to make a nap happen. No sense in spending 3 hours trying to force an afternoon nap to happen — at that point, you’re probably closer to bedtime than you are to naptime!
  11. When your toddler is finally done taking naps, consider replacing nap time with “rest time”. It’s always a little sad when your toddler finally ages out of his naps. Gone are those one or two hours of peace, when mom or dad could get some work done, catch up on chores, or take a nap themselves! However, the end of nap time doesn’t have to mean the end of your afternoon peace and quiet. Simply replace nap time with rest time.

BONUS NAP TIP: We like you so much, we’re squeezing in a bonus tip for you! This one deals with short naps, an all-too-common problems for the parents in our Baby Sleep Site® community. The fact is, short naps are normal for newborns and young babies, but by about 6 months of age, most babies are able to take longer naps. Want all the details on why short naps happen, and how to fix the problem? Check out this article on short baby naps.

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Special Members-Only Nap Resources

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_left Mastering Naps & Schedules — For starters, all Baby Sleep Site® members receive unlimited access to all our e-Books. That’s right – for the price of your membership, you can read all our e-Books at no additional cost! That includes Mastering Naps & Schedules. With over 45 sample schedules (all available for you to view in the Members Area), Mastering Naps & Schedules is THE e-Book for tired parents of non-napping kiddos! We tackle all your top napping issues, including how to get your baby or toddler to take longer naps, how to get your child’s naps to be more consistent and predictable, how to manage nap transitions, how to encourage good napping while traveling – and more! Become a member today, and access the e-Book instantly – no download necessary!
 
Tele-seminarNap Tele-Seminars — Another great members-only resource? Our tele-seminars. Hosted by Nicole herself, these 30 – 45-minute tele-seminars offer you insider-information and our trademark sleep coaching methods and techniques. We have several awesome nap-focused tele-seminars, including one on managing nap transitions, and one on lengthening short naps! Listening to these seminars is like getting a coaching session from Nicole! She’ll walk you through the basics of dealing with common nap problems and give you tried-and-true strategies you can implement at home.

Members-Only Nap Articles — And now, we’ve recently added a special members-only article on the hot topic of nap transitions: 5 Practical, Hands-On Tips For Managing Common Nap Transitions. Learn our 5 top secrets for how to gently and painlessly navigate nap transitions, and help them happen in a way that preserves your child’s sleep while also preserving your own sanity! ;-)

For more details about all our member benefits (including weekly chats with a trained sleep consultant and 20% off ALL sleep consulting packages), visit our membership page, and consider becoming a member today!
 
 
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Don’t feel up to working on your baby or toddler’s nap challenges on your own? While our Members Area is great for DIY moms who prefer to tackle sleep challenges on their own, we know that other moms much prefer to go straight to one-on-one help. Well, good news – we offer that, and you can start getting the personal help you need TODAY!

 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Are you struggling with any of these 10 points? Have nap questions to ask, or nap tips to share? We want to hear from you!